September 10, 2023 at 7:11 p.m. EDT
For practically two days, he stated, he couldn’t converse. Solely on Sunday afternoon, 40 hours after the quake, was he starting to course of all he had misplaced.
His residence: A two-story home, now a gaping pit of mangled cement, plaster and splintered wooden.
And his solely kids: Hamza, 18, and Yusra, 13. When the novice rescuers discovered their our bodies, Hamza’s arms had been round his sister, as if to guard her, a relative stated. The youngsters had been buried within the village cemetery.
“I really feel that the world is finished for me,” Afouzar stated, his eyes watering. “I misplaced my home, I misplaced my household.”
Among the many ruins had been scattered stays of the life they’d lived: An empty Fanta bottle on a lounge desk, vivid blue brocade pillows lined in mud, a potted plant nonetheless clinging to a windowsill.
With nowhere to go, Afouzar, his leg bandaged, hobbled on a cane round a car parking zone the place displaced households had constructed tents from blankets strung on wires.
They might reside on bread and tea, he stated, however “we simply want a home to sleep in.”
Moments later, his spouse, Elgoufi Nezha, stumbled out of a van. She had simply returned from the hospital in Marrakesh, the place she was taken after being pulled from the rubble. A gash on her brow was seen below her scarf. She lifted her garments to disclose deep purple bruises on her arms and stomach.
Leaning on her husband, she recounted a frantic scramble to succeed in the kids’s room, as slabs of clay fell on her shoulders and again. They had been screaming for her.
Lastly, their voices fell silent.
Afouzar stated there have been no native authorities on the scene that evening, or within the morning, no bulldozers or cranes. Neighbors leaned on neighbors to carry heavy slabs of concrete.
On Sunday afternoon, native associations had been passing out meals within the city. However there was no signal of support from the state. And correct tents had been in brief provide.
Round each nook, properties that had belonged to households for generations had been merely gone.
Three-year-old Janette, her face lined in scratches, hadn’t stopped crying within the two nights since her home was destroyed, her father, Hassem Lassoum, stated.
These whose properties had been nonetheless partially intact despatched sons or brothers again to salvage what they might — blankets, pillows, tea units, a range — and camped in open tons.
“The authorities stated ‘don’t go inside,’” Lassoum stated. Buildings are nonetheless crumbling, they warned, and aftershocks stay a risk. However for many, it was well worth the danger.
“It’s exhausting to be homeless,” Afouzar stated.
Girls and kids took refuge from the baking solar on blankets laid out below seashore umbrellas. Males knelt for night prayer on straw mats in a barren discipline.
Fatima Bouskri, 60, sporting the identical pajama pants she had on when the quake roused her from sleep, was nonetheless in shock.
“We’re simply staying right here, asking God to do one thing,” she stated.